Last stop – Dublin, Ireland

Bet you can guess where we visited in Dublin. Yes, of course, The Guinness Storehouse located in the heart of St. James’ Brewery and Ireland’s most popular attraction. I’ve been before, but there are some improvements such as the tasting section and the Marketing floor is magnificent. Really loved the Guinness ads. ‘Tock followed Tick.’ However, let’s be honest here, it is a bit Disney with all of the interactive experiences and all. Still, it was a fun way to end the holiday.

We walked around the city and looked at many sites such as the cathedrals, shops, parks, but ultimately it was the end of the cruise and we felt the end of the holiday was fast approaching and quite looking forward to getting back to good old England.

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Reykjavik, Iceland

Thingvellir is a historic site and national park in Iceland, east of Reykjav铆k. The park is in a valley caused by the separation of two tectonic plates, with聽rocky cliffs and fissures like the huge Almannagj谩 fault.

As you can see above, this was a road which collapsed due to the聽separation of two tectonic plates!

It is known to be the site of Iceland’s parliament during the tenth to the eighteenth centuries and is of tremendous geological and historical interest and deemed to be the most important place in Iceland.

From the ‘Law Rock’, the speaker recited the laws and if the laws were broken the execution sites were located close by.

The site is important in geological terms too, and highly significant. It is the continuation of the Mid-Atlantic ridge, where the Eurasian and North American plates are still drifting apart.

After we thoroughly explored the area, we left and took a coach ride to Geyser area, where we admired the hissing springs and geothermal activity. This was astonishing and exciting because the large Strokkur geyser erupts every few minutes.

Strokker Geyser

 

Strokkur is a fountain geyser located in a geothermal area beside the Hv铆t谩 River in Iceland in the southwest part of the country, east of Reykjav铆k.

Here are some photos of other geothermal activity…

After exploring this superb site we went to see the mighty Gullfoss known as the ‘Golden Waterfall’. This is the most stunning and largest waterfall I have ever seen and it was very exciting. The waterfall is located in South Iceland on the聽Hv铆t谩 (White) river which is fed by Iceland麓s second biggest glacier, the Langj枚kull. The water plummets 32 meters down in two stages into a 70 metre canyon. We managed to see the shimmering rainbow over the fall because of the sunny weather.

Gullfoss – The ‘Golden Waterfall’

 

Well, we finally reached the end of our trip to Iceland which was absolutely fabulous and I cannot recommend Iceland enough. Truly magnificent.

Ayureyri, Iceland

Ayureyri, Iceland

 

After sailing for a day, we arrived in Akureyri, reputed to be the nation’s loveliest town. It was about 10pm and we asked the ship’s receptionists if we could leave the ship. They did not know. However, when we went to our cabin we noticed people were leaving/returning to the ship. So we decided to have a quick look at the town and pubs. The time was 11.15pm but broad daylight.

We left the ship and walked over the fjord towards the town. I took many photos because I couldn’t believe how light it was. The first pub was packed full of Icelandic hipsters sipping their beer. So we did likewise. The barman told us about the local beers, we flashed our credit card, and sat down. After enjoying a fine IPA we walked on and visited another packed bar and was cheerfully asked “Would you sit on our seats while we go for a smoke?” We did so, but they didn’t want their seats when they returned and we started chatting about Iceland. They told us Iceland gets dark for about 15 minutes in July, but, in the winter they have three hours of daylight and take vitamin D tablets!

After this little chat, we returned to the boat as we had a trip around the local area. Must say, having sat drinking Cava in the ship pub and then going on this adventure, we were a little jaded the next day.

We visited Namaskard which was an amazing experience. 聽We saw many steaming fumeroles belching out sulphur from the springs below. Mudpots were bubbling away, can reach 100c/212f, and the lighter coloured parts of the surface crust can cave in easily. 聽Sulphur was used here for hundreds of years for the manufacturers of gunpowder. The whole place is a geothermal field and was the highlight of the tour. Quite incredible watching the mud pots, steam vents, sulphur deposits, boiling springs and fumaroles.

 

 

Namaskard

 

After this incredible spectacle, we proceeded to Lake Myvatn, which is a breeding area for ducks and tremendous geological interest and saw聽the craters at Skutustadir. The craters were formed when, during volcanic eruptions, the bogs were heated to extreme temperatures, causing the water in the bogs to turn into steam, and expand, thus causing explosions that pushed volcanic ash aside to leave the pseudo craters.

Continuing on we visited a strange place called Dimmuborgir,

Dimmuborgir

 

or Dark Fortress, Nature Reserve. This is so we could view of magnificent lava landscape and its strange formations including pillars, arches and whatever you wish to see from the shapes of the lava which encouraged Icelandic folklore (trolls).

Then finally, we saw the Godafoss Waterfall – the waterfall of the Gods, which is a beautiful crescent of cascading water.

Godafoss – Waterfall of the Gods

 

A fantastic day viewing natural geological phenomenon that will never be forgotten and I am mighty glad I was able to experience the jewels of the North of Iceland. 聽Highly recommended.

 

 

Faroe Islands – T贸rshavn

Free bus on the island!

 

We thoroughly enjoyed this brief visit to the Faroe islands (we had to be back on ship by 2.30pm) and was beginning to enjoy the light nights too.

When we arrived, we went to the tourist office and asked about the free buses. Yes, you don’t have to pay for their public transport on the Faroe Islands. 聽A group of us then traipsed to the bus stop “around the corner”, to catch the island bus.

As we waited, one lady told me she had been on two, around the world, cruises. One, one way and the other, (you’ve guessed it) the other way. On the second cruise, she knew a lot of the passengers from the first cruise. Can you imagine going on a cruise for three months? I can’t. Two weeks is quite enough. Most of the people on the cruise ship had done about “eight or nine cruises” although I suspect many had done more than that!

The evening before, we sat in the pub bar on the ship having found the Lido (dancing) Lounge too dull. All ballroom/line dancing. We like to bop to pop music and have a laugh. Anyway, a chap who dines with us joined us and we watched the horizon stay light as the night went on. “It’s still light!” was laughingly repeated constantly. We all sat at the bar enjoying the cruising, drinks and company. This was when we really started to enjoy ourselves.

Back to Faroe Islands. We went to catch the bus and did a circuit of the island (FOC) and eventually disembarked in the north of the area at the local cultural centre called the Nordic House that offers theatre, arty exhibitions, dance and music performances in a contemporary space. This was an interesting insight because it exhibited a selection of photos which spanned a year of life on the Faroes.

The Nordic House in the distance

 

After that, we walked towards the town, through a park and just had a wander. We like to do a mix of tours and independent travel when we participate in a cruise. 聽The amount of statues around Torshavn is fascinating and I photographed a few.

T贸rshavn, on Streymoy Island, is the capital city of the Faroe Islands and the smallest capital city in Europe. It also is known for the wooden turf-roofed houses and T贸rshavn Cathedral, rebuilt in the 19th century. Local shops, pubs and restaurants are in around the main shopping strip, Niels Finsens g酶ta.

Torshavn – Harbour

 

Obviously, we found a couple of pubs and enjoyed some local beer then wandered around the harbour. 聽Thoroughly enjoyed T贸rshavn, and our walk but we had to be back on the ship mid afternoon. Hopefully, we will return and stay longer next time.

By the way, when we returned to the ship, we enjoyed a late lunch. Didn’t usually bother with lunch because of the large breakfast but on this day we decided to indulge. Anyway, only had a plate of salad just to keep me going. Two women joined our table and all was well until my husband innocently mentioned the free bus around the island. They had just returned from their rather expensive island tour. Well, they looked furious. “Free bus! Free bus!” The woman spluttered as she was stuffing a huge plate of chips into her mouth. Oops…tumbleweed… for the remained of lunch. Well you can’t get on with every passenger, I suppose. 鈽猴笍

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Stornoway

Stornoway

 

Stornoway is on the Isle of Lewis, Outer Hebrides of Scotland. This area has a traditional mix of businesses such as fishing, Harris Tweed and farming and a population of around 6,000 and this is about a third of the island’s population.

Not a huge amount at Stornoway but it is pretty in parts. 聽It has a reasonable sized town with a library (usefully with free WiFi), a castle, harbour, a pretty park and another circular walk “I am NOT going to walk miles again.” However, we were only there for a day so probably a little unfair to judge.

The walk to Lews Castle turned out to be pleasant enough and not too exacting, unlike yesterday’s never ending walk. One good factor was the weather. Honestly, it was like being on the Mediterranean. Plus the people are friendly and shockingly, I could even understand their Scottish tongue. Apart from the two chaps, in the library who were speaking Gallic. Show offs!!

Lews Castle

 

As we examined the impressive Lews Castle we decided to carry on walking the circular walk which was lovely, but soon realised that we hadn’t a clue how long the walk was. Helpfully, the map didn’t give this vital piece of information. I even asked a couple, also walking along, if they knew, but they hadn’t a clue either. So after a mile or so, we gave up and strolled back. 聽Had to be back in a few hours so decided not to keep 800 people waiting for us and strolled to the town area for a much needed cuppa.

We went into a public house and a bored bar lady informed me that they didn’t do coffee or tea so I stupidly settled for a coke which was warm, flat but I gratefully drank it because I was thirsty. The pub was, incidentally, one of the most depressing places I’ve ever been in so we left the, what I can only assume, the few permanent fixtures (customers) and headed back to the town.

We didn’t stay long, but used the free wifi in the library and then caught the tender back to the ship for dinner, etc.

I left Scotland feeling that I would like to explore the country properly as it is truly beautiful. Also, it means I can complete the splendid walk, mentioned above.

Next stop, T贸rshavn,聽Faroe Islands.

Tobermory

A beautiful聽area. Lots to do so we wandered around the main street. Took some photos and then decided to do the whisky distillery tour. This tour that lasted about an hour with a glass of whisky at the end. Never realised you should add a few drops of water to whisky which helps the flavours to disperse onto your tongue. Not a whisky drinker but it was a lot nicer than the usual whisky. Guess I’ve been 聽drinking it wrong all these years.

After this we went on a lovely, if a little arduous cliff top walk which was, I was unreliably informed 5k, by the tourist office woman. Flipping heck! More like 10km. Challenging terrain in places but well worth doing. We did walk around a small loch too. The landscape is stunning, so well worth the effort. Never been so grateful for a pint and cheese and pickle sandwich at the end of the walk. Also, it was great to practice photography with my new camera. The camera (Nikon) worried me a bit at first because it is new and a little posher than my usual choice of camera. I’m getting used to taking the lens cap off now though, and fiddling with the lens before I deem it good enough to snap, I mean photograph.

Walking…

A fab day out and beginning to understand why people love to travel and explore the Scottish highlands. 聽Tomorrow we will be arriving in Stornoway, Isle of Lewis, Scotland.

 

Falmouth

I recently went on a trip to Falmouth (Cornwall), Tobermory (Isle of Mull, Scotland), Stornoway (Isle of Lewis, Scotland), Torshavn (Faroe Islands), Akureyri (Iceland), Isafjordur (Iceland), Reykjavik (Iceland), and finally Dublin (Ireland). It was a fabulous and fun trip interspersed with funny and exciting events which I plan to share here (rather than just boring facts about the places) through a series of blog posts. So here goes…

Falmouth

The beautiful Cornish coastline welcomed us as we cruised towards the River Fal. I had forgotten what a beautiful, lovely area Cornwall is. Falmouth is the gateway to the River Fal and is known for art galleries and maritime heritage. The area also has some fantastic beaches, shops, pubs, restaurants and known for natural beauty and ideal for walks and family activities. As well as all of the above, it has the world鈥檚 largest natural deep-water harbour and is the country鈥檚 first and last port.

We spent a wonderful day exploring the harbour, independent galleries, shops and of course, pubs. Of course, we spotted a world famous pasty shop and had to have one. It was delicious!

View of Falmouth (the arty pic. lol)

BEERWOLF BOOKS

This pub had been recommended to us and I can see why. It is a pub with a book shop inside, which is my idea of bliss. People were reading, playing chess, and drinking some amazing beer and perusing the books.

After visiting the above, we had a quick look around the local art gallery, some more interesting shops and galleries and then into another cool pub with copious amounts of beer. By this time I was feeling jaded so settled for a coffee. We gleefully spotted an empty table outside and plonked ourselves down. It was then, I spotted a tiny canvas bag by our table. I was just starting to have thoughts about it being a bomb, when a bloke appeared grumbling under his breath and so we quickly made noises about how we didn’t realise it was his table. We truly didn’t. He then gave us permission to sit there anyway. Jolly nice of him. Looking back, I think he left his bag there to reserve the table and then went and got a drink because he wasn’t in the bar when we were getting our drinks. Flipping hipsters.

I turned away to watch the even happier people in the cool cafe opposite only to see two aging hippies proudly showing off their hairy armpits. Oh joy.

We finished our drinks and walked back through the town towards the beaches and took some great photos of the pretty coastline. An enjoyable start to the holiday and here is a picturesque view of Falmouth during the evening back on the ship. The next stop was Tobermory, Isle of Mull, Scotland.

Falmouth

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